Sam Trickett - the new face of UK poker? [Friday Editorial]
Friday, 11 March 2011
I remember clearly when I first heard the name Sam Trickett. I was online railing the final table of the GUKPT Luton event way back when in 2007 since current Paddypower.com Irish Open champion - then online grinder breaking into live tournaments - James Mitchell was at the final and as a fellow London Poker Meetup member I lent my virtual and intangible support to his charge toward a £109,000 first prize.
Alas, James finished 3rd but still took home the then biggest cash of his career. It was Sam Trickett who wound up taking down the event and the top prize as well as his first GUKPT title. Then 21-year-old Trickett was a vaguely familiar name for some reason… ah yes! The month before he had finished fourth in a $5,000 WSOP event and took home a quarter-million dollars. I scoured his pre August 2007 tournament cashes and saw that he had been making consistent final tables and taking home side events on the GUKPT before his WSOP final. I decided to watch out for this one…
Around three and a half years later, here we are. Trickett is arguably the most well-known UK tournament grinder on the live arena right now. Since last summer he can do no wrong in live tournaments: after a World Series of Poker that saw him take second place in the same $5,000 NL event that eluded him in 2007 as well as bubbling the final table of the $25,000 6-max event for a six-figure score. Later that summer he placed fourth in the European Poker Tour Vilamoura event won by Toby Lewis and just over a week later took down the televised PartyPoker World Open VI for $200,000.
That rounded off a million dollar 2010 for Trickett, whose poker buddies had fared similarly well - aforementioned Irish Open champion Mitchell and WSOPE winner James Bord can count him in their gambling circle. For Sam, though, the best was yet to come. He kicked off the year as well as any player could with a victory in the $100,000 buy-in High Roller event at the Aussie Millions for $1.525m AUD. Five days later and he was at the final of a six-figure buy-in tournament again, losing out in heads-up play to Erik Seidel at the $250,000 AUD Super High Roller event but still taking home an extra $1.4m AUD. That match was truly a clash of the run good - had Seidel not earned over $4.3m this year then Trickett’s run in live tournaments would be near unrivalled.
Nevertheless, Trickett has accrued over $2.8m USD in 2011 so far - did we mention he final tabled the WPT Five Diamond Paris as well? - and it’s difficult to argue for a hotter UK poker player right now. We have some guys who crush online - Chris Moorman, Ben Grundy, Richard Ashby, Rob Akery to name but a few - as well as consistent tournament TV presences such as Roland de Wolfe, Neil Channing and The Devilfish. Liv adds a touch of glamour to the line-up also.
However, in terms of recent results and prominence on the live circuit, Trickett is certainly the centre of the limelight when it comes to UK players in the poker world at this point. Having heard interviews with him and watched him on televised games he seems confident, sure and able to hold himself well on camera which is, let’s face it, half the battle for a live tournament pro nowadays. This is good, because I think Trickett is in line to become the face of UK poker.
The doubters will point out that, essentially, all Trickett has done this year is placed well in two high-stakes Sit ‘n’ Goes. This is a fair point as the $100,000 event and the $250,000 event at the Aussie Millions had fields of just 38 and 20 respectively. The riposte is that the fields were extremely tough; when you have a six-figure buy-in tournament you don’t tend to get a lot of people who swing by and enter at the last minute. That’s besides the point, anyway - of course he has run super-good.
However, it’s super-good runs that make stars. Phil Ivey, not to say a word against The Almighty, timed his triple WSOP bracelet year spectacularly in terms of poker TV coverage kicking off and that plus the hand against Paul Jackson in the Monte Carlo Millions were pieces of run-good coming together to make him who he is in the eyes of the casual poker public. Trickett is winning big tournaments and making big TV appearances - not to mention winning super-big in Macau’s cash games - at a time when the European poker scene is at its strongest with EPT fields breaking records. People always harp on about poker ambassadors and I think we’ve got a good ‘un brewing.